INFOS : firstname.lastname@example.org
Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Label : Sire/Warner Music
Review by Luisa Mercier
I have to admit I am not that much into this kind of American blues/folk tinged rock, so I approached this record being a little bit cold. Gladly I had to change my mind quite soon, since the first track. “Holding on to Good” where the soaring female vocals and keyboards instantly captured my attention. The song is sweet, epic and slowly builds up its mood with guitars and drums til the catchy chorus. The strings in the instrumental break are just emotional as well the keyboards. The following “Is Anybody Out There” is much more rockish and groovy, sung by a warm, soft male voice, while girls are to be found in background choirs. Once again the instrumental break captured me. These guys know how to create an emotional atmosphere, for sure. “Morning Comes” is the typical American acoustic ballad at the beginning which becomes more uptempo after a few seconds. It could make a perfect second single. Another slow tempo song is “If I Loved You” where female vocals are back behind the mic. Beautiful as the previous ones, it has a distinctive country influence. First single was the short “Bottom of The River”. The southern influence is very apparent and brings me back to “Gone with the Wind” mood. Lovely really. “Country House” is another delicate, romantic song with acoustic guitars, strings, keyboards and soft male vocals. Trumpets open “Surrounded” before a nice piano and vocalisings start a melody that reminded me of old Coldplay before bursting out into rock. “Dance in the Graveyards” is once again a folk tinged rock song lively and uptempo, while “Fire” has in the vocals a bit of the Southern melancholy mixed with anger. One of the highlights of the record according to me. Another ballad is “Forgive the Children We Once Were”, full of pathos and emotions. Piano and female voice for “Unlike Any Other”, another ballad, maybe more traditional than the previous ones. Closing song is “Hey Hey Hey”, which is quite fun and soulful. Perfect closure for an adorable album. If you are a fan of typical Southern rock this record is perfect for you, but it can appeal you even if you are part of a more mainstream audience.
Rating - 80/100
Interview by Luisa Mercier
I had the pleasure to review the debut of Delta Rae, talented band from Duke, North Carolina. Their sound draws from several genres, ranging from rock, to gospel and bluegrass giving birth to an experience that will take you over!
Hi from Italy Brittany! Welcome on Femme Metal Webzine. First of all, I truly love your voice and your record! I was not much into this kind of music, but you really conquered me!
Ciao! Yay for allowing yourself to be conquered! :) And thanks so much.
May you introduce yourself to our readers? How was the band born?
Sure! My name is Brittany Hölljes and I am one of four vocalists in Delta Rae. The band was a dream of my brothers’ (they are the two male voices in the band) who have been writing music together since the were 10 and 12 years old. By 2008, they were writing songs that they knew needed women’s voices. So they emailed Liz in Peru and called me, in Italy, (Firenze! I loved it!) and asked us what we were doing in the fall of 2009. By the next September we had all moved into a big fixer upper in the backwoods of Durham, NC. We found Mike and Grant in the local scene and asked them to join up. And thus Delta Rae was born!
Your main influences?
As a band, we’ve drawn inspiration from Fleetwood Mac, Mumford & Sons, Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Billy Joel and Jeff Buckley and even Les Miserables and Jesus Christ Superstar. Our influences are as varied as our sound.
Have you got a formal music education?
The only member of our band who was formally educated in music is our bassist, Grant Emerson, who went to UNC-W. Mike grew up in a very musical household, his parents are both full-time musicians and music teachers. And Liz’s dad was a fantastic vocalist/musician/songwriter, she totally got his ear and voice. The three siblings grew up in a house of artistry and creativity, but neither of my parents are particularly musical. We all learned to sing by belting along to our parents’ awesome ’70s albums. Eric taught himself piano when he was 7, Ian picked up guitar in college. I think one of the reasons we work so well together is that our music isn’t about technicality as much as it’s about feeling, it comes from our guts.
Speaking of writing, how does a Delta Rae track come together? Your vocal harmonies are great!
My brothers, Ian and Eric, write all of Delta Rae’s songs and I don’t think I will ever get over how original, honest, and smart their writing is. It never gets old. They usually start songs on their own and once they have the bones of it, they’ll bring it to the rest of the band to flesh it out. The harmonies are the backbone of the band’s sound. They usually just fall right into place.
What are the inspirations you draw from to write lyrics? Sometimes I get a mysterious, like magical vibe!
Wow! That’s a big compliment. Thank you! I think Delta Rae is capturing something that truly is magical. Our songs can be warm and euphoric, but we also embrace their darkness and mystery. Our songs are stories, usually about our lives, our history, our families, and our ghosts. Their origins are earthy and we sing and play them viscerally and with abandon. For us, music and magic go hand in hand. Then again, I DID study paganism and astrology in college, so this kind of talk is my jam… you don’t even wanna get me started ;)
You are two brothers and one sister. How does the all-in-the-family vibe affect the work you guys do?
I think it has been a really helpful thing for this band. We love each other of course, but the really key thing is that we three siblings also LIKE each other! We fight sometimes, but I think it only serves to make us a stronger unit. We fight because we care. I personally wouldn’t be doing this without my brothers, they are my inspiration and my whetting stones, and I am always myself with them around. I’m really lucky.
I have watched a lot of your live clips on YouTube, your show are great! What can your audience expect?
Thank you! I’d say audiences should expect a swampy-stompy, sing your lungs out, punch in the face, tongue-kiss of a show! You’re hearing four-part harmony, banging on trash cans, melodic piano riffs, driving guitar and bowed, electric upright bass. It is A LOT of new sounds and to spice things up even more, we have four lead singers. So we keep the audience on their toes. At the same time, our main goal is to bring people in emotionally. We bare our souls on stage. Overall, it’s a roller coaster. I always feel electrified after shows, I hope we are doing the same for our listeners.
I can hear a lot of Southern influences, how your hometown, its history has influenced you?
Well we have kind of a unique story. The three siblings grew up around the south until we were about middle school age. Then we moved to northern California where we met Liz. Liz is a chameleon and could travel anywhere and fit in, but the Holljes kids always felt like we would be drawn back to our southern roots. So we planted the band in Durham, NC, where Ian and Eric were born, and where our mom spent her whole childhood and college years. Our sound definitely has southern flavor, we pull on elements of bluegrass, gospel, country, and blues. Going back to the question of magic in our music, I think we also live in a part of the country that has magic in its nature. Just being in a place that’s home to huge summer thunderstorms, gobs of fireflies and kudzu devouring whole forests, has an impact on our sound. Epic yet cozy. Warm but mysterious.
The “Bottom of the River” video. How does the song’s subject matter relate to the video?
Well, in truth it doesn’t, aside from the dark, swampy, stompy, southern vibe. The lyrics of the song tell a baptism/exorcism story of a woman trying to rid her son of a “demon” by drowning the evil spirit, but drowning her son in reality. When we were thinking of concepts for the video, a witch trial seemed like a good parallel story, as women used to be tortured and killed when accused of witchcraft and associating with the devil. Our video however, is infused with serious lady-power, and I, the witch, get the better of my accusers… that makes the video MUCH more fun!
I know you performed on Leno on 25th June, how did it feel?
I can’t say enough for the people who work on The Tonight Show and Jay Leno himself. They were all SO nice and they made us feel very at home. That being said we were all still sick with nerves and excitement! It was just so surreal and such an honor. I was relieved that we sang “Bottom of the River”, which is a song we have performed thousands of times. On the street, on boats, in subways, to no one, and to thousands, so it’s ingrained deeply in us. Even national TV can’t phase that ;)
I found the song ”Rain Down on Me” on YouTube. It is amazing! Do you plan to release it in the future, maybe together with some of your cover songs (I love “Rolling in the Deep”)?
So glad you like it! “Rain Down on Me” is one of our absolute FAVES! We are definitely putting it out someday, though I don’t know when yet. I don’t know if we will ever get a chance to record or release covers, we have so much original material that we’ve got to get out into the world first! But I love singing “Rolling in the Deep”. That song is tough! But the soul is palpable. If we do record any covers, you better believe we will put a Delta Rae spin on it and it’ll ooze soul!
Have you thought of hitting Europe somewhere in the near future? I would love to have “Carry the Fire” released here.
WE WOULD TOO! We are hopeful that there will be a European release but we are still focused on the States for now. It would be an absolute dream to travel through Europe, singing what I think is very authentic Americana music and I personally would LOVE to watch the emotionality of our music cross cultural and lingual divides.
That’s all, Brittany! Thank you for your time and all the best!
These questions were so thoughtful and fun to answer. Thank YOU!
Photos by Shervin Lainez & Smallz and Raskind
Interview & Photos by Erwin Van Dijk
It is a Within Temptation reunion day at the city of Haarlem tonight. Delain and Kingfisher Sky are both spin offs from Within Temptation, the biggest of all Gothic and female fronted bands in Holland. Sadly Delain has an unpredictable photo policy at their gigs. Sometimes you are allowed (or tolerated) to shoot a Delain gig but often you are not. Epica has a similar behaviour towards this. Goth knows why. Maybe their ego? That is why I try to avoid these bands but Kingfisher Sky will be a good opener today so I took the gamble. The Patronaat started in an old shabby building held together with gaffer tape but somewhere around 2005 it was replaced by the new building with much better facilities. As a consequence the venue can book now a lot of bands that used to play in Amsterdam like Dimmu Borgir or the upcoming Pagan Festival in September with Unleashed and Korpiklaani. Just a few days ago The Patronaat won the “Best Dutch Venue” award. The reason is quite easy for me: good facilities, friendly staff and more important: a well oiled organisation. The only disadvantage of the Patronaat you will find when you stand at the edge of the stage in the main hall. There is a small electric cable pit for all the equipment which has never been cleaned since the opening of the venue. After four years it is the most disgusting place in the entire city. To quote Bones from Star Trek “It’s life Jim, but not as we know it!”. As with the album release party at De Melkweg (Amsterdam) the two video screens did not add much to the gig because they are to small and located at the far left and right of the stage. With the Cradle of Filth & Moonspell gig last week in the city or Rotterdam there was one large stage filling video screen that functioned as a nice back drop. The mayor difference between Epica and Delain is that with Epica the visual part of the show and the special effects outweighs the musical performance live. With Delain it is still more about the music and less about how it looks on stage. I hope it will stay that way. But Delain still wanted to do something special so they had to improvise. Unlike Within Temptation or Epica the Delain crew still has no pyro license so we have a bubble machine as visual effect. WOW! The set consisted of songs from the debut album and “April Rain”. Personally I like the songs from “Lucidity” more than the new work and judged how the audience reacted I am not alone in this. The “April Rain” songs lacks the varity “Lucidity” had. I know Delain wants to sound like a real band but “Lucidity” was a one time kick in the face because it was never meant to be a ‘band’ but a project.
With “April Rain” all the ‘Youthfull Enthusiasm’ is gone and replaced by solid assambly line work. Currently Delain is sponsored by Jägermeister but thank Goth there were no Jägermeister wallpapers in sight today. Or the Jägermeister promo team which consists of (very predictable) good looking girls (The Jäger Mädel in good German) who always appear to be a little lost during metal gigs – like at the Melkweg gig. Those chicks are most likely plucked from the pages of some modelling agency. And because money is money Charlotte is sponsored by an Italian fashion make – up brand called PUPA. Not that Charlotte needs to be covered in thick layers of plaster (unless she is going to be a Kiss tribute band singer or will start a black metal band!) One more thing: Delain showed some footage of a violin cello on screen while playing a sample.N ice, but I thought it was also a bit cheap because Kingfisher has a real violin cello on stage. If I was the boss of Delain I would have asked Maaike to do that part because all the cello stuff was already in place that day. Opener Kingfisher Sky only had about 30 minutes for a show and that was more than enough to convince the audience. Although I would not have minded to see them a bit longer than half an hour. Their take on this genre is much different than most other bands these days. Judith has a voice which does not sound like another ‘Kate Bush on helium clone’. More rock and soul. Same goes for the music. Kingfisher Sky is closer to bands like Autumn, The Gathering and Stream of Passion than Delain and Epica. Since bands like Autumn, Cardamon and Skytah are also going this way with their music you can almost see this as the next step of the Gothic genre. In short: like their die hard fans these musicians have grown up, leaving Delain for the younger generation. Conclusion: Kingfisher Sky did a good gig but lacked the time to get the audience with them. Delain gave a solid performance but they should watch out for Stream of Passion who are also about to release their newest album.
Phoner interview & trascription by Robin Stryker
Well, this was a new experience … interviewing all five members of a band at the same time by phone. Please join Femme Metal in welcoming the members of Chicago hard rock band, Deadmanswake: Kryssie Ridolfi (vocals), JP Soule (guitar/backing vocals), Josh Barker (guitar), Troll (bass) and Kip Kiebles (drums).
Welcome to Femme Metal everybody! JP, I understand that Deadmanswake did not start out as a female-fronted hard rock band. How did you guys get to where you are today?
JP : Well, I was actually the original vocalist for the band,and that lasted right about until I heard our first recordings, heard my voice and decided I didn’t want to sing anymore. (all laugh) Not as a main vocalist, anyway. I do fine if I’m blending with somebody else, but I just REALLY can’t stand the sound of my own voice. After that, we went through a couple of different guys. At the time, I was kind of going for an In Flames, Dark Tranquillity kind of sound. Then it just really got to the point where screaming ended up sort of feeling like it was gonna be a trend that was eventually going to go away. I didn’t want to be a band that was trapped in one specific era and I also didn’t want to be limited by somebody who didn’t have a strong melodic voice. So we let our screaming vocalist go, and started looking for other people. I wasn’t looking for a female vocalist, but I was definitely open to the possibility. And by the time we ended up working with Kryssie, it was down to her and one other person. I personally was sold from the first audition; the rest of the band, it took a little bit more convincing. She showed up at this other guy’s audition and just smoked him. I was already sold before that point but, by the time she finished that song, it was like “Okay, no one else need apply. We’re done”. That was the song “Screaming in Silence”, which is actually not on any official recordings as of yet but we have played it live a couple of times.
Let’s talk about the new album, “It Comes to This”. Give folks an idea of what they will hear when they listen to your album.
Kryssie: I know vocally all of the songs are lyrically from my heart. I know every vocalist says that. But the reality is, when I joined this band, I was at a really big renaissance (as I like to call it) in my life. I had just lost a two-and-a-half year relationship, I had just gotten my own place. My first audition with this band was the day I signed the lease on my first place by myself, and it was this big rebirth in my life. And all of the songs that I wrote lyrics for were within the first month of being in the band. That’s how emotional I was. Every single one of these songs is either about pain or about being confused about something or a personal loss or a personal gain, and all of that stuff was something I was feeling in the Fall of 2007 when these were written. So it’s very personal to me and I hope that people who hear it really identify and feel connected to me through it because I want people to know and I want to convey that they are not the only ones feeling stuff like that.
I’m fascinated by the album cover. You all are cartoons, with Kryssie as a nurse looking rather alarmed to see over your shoulder the rest of the band as zombies coming after you. What’s up with zombies?
Kryssie : A lot of us are really big fans of the horror genre and the name of the band Deadmanswake… when I first heard the name of the band… all I could think of was the walking dead. A friend of mine is a published comic book artist. I was talking to him one day when he popped into my work — which is ironically a horror collectible store — and he drew this quick little thumbnail sketch. It went through a lot of different incarnations, and the one that we ultimately ended up with I think is absolutely hilarious. I think all the caricatures look exactly like the boys. There are so many ways you can look at it… me being the only one who is not a zombie and everyone coming after me, you could go the cliché way of “oh, I’m a woman in a man’s world and it’s tough to not get eaten alive”. Or you could just go with the fact that we are all big dorks and we all like horror flicks. It’s probably a little bit of both if you want complete honesty.
If you could pick a horror film to have a Deadmanswake song in, or any film for that matter, which song would it be and which film would it go with?
Kryssie : I would choose the song “Back to Blood” and I would put it in “Shaun of the Dead” in the scene where they are beating the zombies with the pool cues in the Winchester. The Queen song, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, the fact that that’s in there is amazing but if I could throw our own in there I would totally put “Back to Blood” at that exact spot.
Kip : Just to stay away from the mainstream, I would have to say “Fright Night” is one of my favourites. Kryssie could probably tell you who stars in it and then some, I’m guessing. As far as the tunes go, I would use all of them on the soundtrack.
Troll : Do you know how “Maximum Overdrive” is an all-AC/DC soundtrack? Replace it with the “It Comes to This” album.
JP : In keeping with the zombie theme, it would probably be “Save Me”. I would use it at the end of the original “Dawn of the Dead”, where the zombies bust into the mall and they are ripping the bikers apart. There are all sorts of guts being pulled out and limbs being chewed. It’s just beautiful!
Quite the bloodthirsty crowd we have here. Guitarists – JP, Josh and Troll – tell us about your most prized instrument. (Keeping it clean, of course.)
Kryssie : My mind went there immediately. (laughs)
I knew it would, Kryssie. That last part was actually for you and not for the boys.
Kryssie: I am seriously a fifth grade boy. I went right there, too. Okay, go on.
JP: This is actually a really easy one for me. Thanks to the miracle of Craigslist, I stumbled across a 2002 Ibanez Destroyer, an actual for real made-in-Japan Ibanez, and I managed to pick it up including the matched Ibanez case for less than $350. The Destroyer just sounds huge. I am one of the world’s greatest living Iron Maiden fans and Adrian Smith played a Destroyer back in the “Live After Death” era. I thought they were the coolest thing and, of course, they are! Plus it has a similar shape to a Gibson Explorer, which was James Hetfield’s weapon of choice, and he was one of the reasons I picked up the guitar in the first place. The Destroyer fills a whole bunch of guitar-hero rock star fantasies of mine.
Josh: To be honest, all of my ideal guitars, I don’t own. Of the ones that I play, the two that I like the most are an LTD Explorer, which I got for fairly cheap when I got it. I was young and stupid and was like, “Oh my god, it looks like an Explorer!”. It was the kind that James Hetfield played. Like JP already said, Hetfield was one of the reasons I picked up the guitar. I use that one pretty much for the bulk of the set. I also have an Ibanez SA that I recently put the new Steve Vai Evolution pickup into, which has improved its sound a whole hell of a lot. I just love Ibanez guitars overall. Ibanez has a pretty sick Flying V that I’d love to get my hands on.
Troll: My Kramer bass is definitely my prize possession. It’s technically the second bass I ever owned, but my first real instrument. I had an old Cort P-Bass copy that was a piece of crap that I broke within two months. Then I got the Kramer in maybe late 1988 or 1989, when I’d only been playing for a few months. I still have it to this day, and the shop that I got it from still exists so I can still go there and get a free set-up whenever I want. That thing has just been through hell and back. It’s my trusty at-home practice bass. I’d love to play it out, but it really doesn’t sound that good. It is priceless to me, though.
Kip, what is it like to be the new kid in the band? Did they make you feel welcome; are you part of the family; are they sharing their beer and all of those things that one would hope of good bandmates?
Kip : They don’t share beer. (Kryssie : We give him wedgies every day). The fact that they beat the hell out of me on a regular basis gives me the feeling that I’m loved, yes. Because that is what I did to my younger brothers, when I was younger. The band has definitely made me feel very at home. It’s kind of difficult to put into words where I am at with this band, but ultimately I’m the metal cheerleader in the band. Saddle shoes, skirt, pom-poms … good to go! There were some benefits that I could offer to the band, like a rehearsal space and a big truck to pull the equipment trailer, but those were just circumstantial. So I guess, when it’s all said and done and the smoke clears, we’re all pretty lucky because they offered me things like a damn good gig that I could be proud of.
Here is something that I’ve been dying to ask. What was it like when you held the first copy of your CD in your hand?
Kryssie : Can I just tell you about the text message conversation Troll and I had when the UPS man was delivering? We had been texting that whole day because the CDs were supposed to show up that day. (It’s common knowledge that, when we are not out doing things, Troll and I especially are huge advocates of pyjamas. We are always in our jammies, no matter what). Troll texted said something about the UPS man. I was like, gasp, “Is he coming?” And he was like, “The bastard just drove by!” I didn’t hear from him and I was getting nervous. Then I got a picture message with just a photograph of all seven boxes of our CDs and I screamed like a little girl … it was amazing! All of us have been musicians for so long. Before I was a vocalist, I used to be a guitar player. I was playing guitars since I was 10, so I’ve been in the “business” for 15 years almost. This is the first actual, physical, honest-to-god, pressed from a factory CD I’ve ever had. This is a HUGE emotional thing for me, and it was nice to show it to my mother and give her a reason why I quit college.
Deadmanswake is having a pyjama party gig. Is this just another excuse for Kryssie and Troll to appear in public in pyjamas?
Kryssie: More or less. It is a CD release for another band, and their frontperson sent me an e-mail and was like,”The theme of this show is freakshow. Take that and run with it, and do what you will.” We were tossing around ideas for playing at a different venue on a different day, and we were like, “Oh, we should show up in our pyjamas.” And then it dawned on me … how funny would that be for the freakshow theme?!? I have a feeling that Troll is going to show up with pigtails and the whole nine yards and I’m digging out a special pair of slippers. It is absolutely another excuse to be seen in my jammies in public.
JP : I’m not totally familiar with everybody in the band’s sleeping habits, so I’m just really hoping that no one in the band sleeps naked.
Kryssie : I’m not totally familiar with everybody in the band’s sleeping habits, so I’m just really hoping that no one in the band sleeps naked.
With as diverse as your musical tastes are, how hard would it be to decide what the cover song would be on a new album?
Kryssie : We’ve actually had pretty good luck — with this incarnation of the band, anyway – we’ve had a really, really easy time picking out covers. We do have diverse influences, but when it comes down to it, if there is some silly, ridiculous deep-cut that one of us mentions that everyone thinks is funny, we go for it. The one that we are talking about putting on the album is one that lots of people on our Facebook page – people that I’ve never met – have mentioned that they would really like to hear us do. It’s kind of cool that if we make that happen, they’ll hear it and be like, “Oh, I suggested that.”
Okay, album is out and you have dates lined up. What is your tour scheduling looking like for the summer? Will you be travelling away from Chicago? Will folks in other parts of the United States and perhaps our friends in Europe have a chance to see you too?
Kryssie : We did an interview last week where we were asked a similar question about whether we would like to get out to Europe. That’s a frustrating question because I would tour there tomorrow if I could afford it. Realistically speaking, if we were able to do it, it would have to wait until next summer. Hopefully by then, we can create enough of a buzz and maybe after our A&R showcase get people who are willing to invest in us to go over there. But that is, realistically, something that we can’t even think about this summer, which really, really is painful. We have got another band that we are hooking up with. None of the dates are set in stone yet, so we are not announcing them. But we are going to have a two-and-a-half week tour towards the end of the summer that will take us from Chicago all the way as far south as Florida, then we are going to come back. It is just going to be a two-and-a-half week run. We definitely are going to make it a point to travel this summer, and get out there. We can’t keep doing all this Internet networking if we can’t put our money where our mouth is and go play in front of people..
Interview by Miriam C.
Sometimes promote a band means sacrifice half the night spent on Skype, I’m not complaining on the contrary. Well, it was on one of this long, sleepless, summer nights that I’ve have had the honor to chat with Kobra Paige, leader of the last newcomers of the Canadian classic heavy metal Kobra and the Lotus. Let’s see what she has to tell about the deal with Simmons Records (yes, that Simmons!), the new debut album and gigging. Keep the flame on!
First of all do you mind present a little the band with some biography?
It all started when I wanted to find some musicians to jam some Iron Maiden with but by the first practice we started writing our own tunes instead. In 2008 I founded Kobra and the Lotus with drummer Griffin Kissack. We then toured extensively, trying to figure out what our true sound would be and the direction we would take in the creation of this next debut album coming out. It was last summer after hearing that album, we recieved a call from Gene Simmons saying he and Universal Records wanted the band. Right now we are in a new chapter for Kobra and the Lotus as we are no longer indie.
About the deal : On August 6th Simmons Records will publish your debut album, that’s a huge, congrats! Would like to share when you have had your first contact with your label? Did you meet Mr. Gene Simmons in person?
Thank you, we are very excited! Yes, I have met him in person several times! It is crazy to think that we work with him. When I first met him it was at Heavy Montreal Festival in Canada. Kiss was headlining and he wanted me to come down so I could watch them play and later hear his label proposal with Randy Lennox from Universal. When I got there he was fully dressed in his gear. He walked over to me without saying anthing and put his arm around my neck pretending to shake me. It was fuckin’ awesome!
Hahahahahaha Simmons is a freaking genious I mean he has the sense of business…
Yes, he’s a very clever man and a marketing maniac. He also is very passionate about keeping metal alive.
If you count that he had created the Kiss coffin too…
Even Dimebag Darrel was burried in one!
What you tell us about the genesis of your self titled album? When have you started to nail down the first lyric?
This is an interesting beginning because we had initially began writing the album 2 years ago and it was fully mixed and mastered for last April 2011. After the band signed, we went back into the studio in January to replace the slower, ballad songs with new up beat ones. These songs are the first 4 on the album and we wrote them this last fall. Our single “Forever One” was created from start to finish inside the studio.
Sorry for the delicate question : why replace the first 4 songs, in what you weren’t satisfied of?
It was not a case of unsatisfaction but a change to fulfill the purpose of the album better. The songs we replaced were ballads. Because it is a debut album and introduction for Kobra and the Lotus to a lot of the world, we decided it needed to be a very high energy, to the point project. We count on putting the unused ballads on the next album.
Let’s say it was a well-calculated strategy, right?
So, in some ways “Welcome to My Funeral” launched and introduced your selftitled album and now it’s time for “Forever One” and seems that KATL jumped out straight from the golden age of the 80’s heavy metal although you’re very young. How came this huge passion for the 80’s?
I guess for many of us in the band, the rock/metal of the 80’s was the first initial big impression that music made on us. It’s the appeal of musicians needing to know how to actually play their instruments, the rawness of the craft, the energy and feeling the music gives people and most importantly the unity it brings to metal culture by not exactly being a niche genre of metal. Now the roots of our influences are well cemented but we have moved on a long time ago to enjoying all kinds of music. We don’t sound 80’s influenced intentionaly now, it just comes into our writing without even realizing it.
Incredible, I really don’t believe that this 80’s sound come out so naturally… again congrats. Would you mind explain a little the band music influences and your personal too?
Hmm, if you were to have an iPod of music right now from our band it would contain anything from Beethoven to Devin Townsend. In our band you will be guaranteed to find someone influenced by any kind of diversion of rock/metal you can find. Technical to simple, progressive to more classic structured, all areas. I think a lot of us believe every kind of music has something to learn from even if it’s not a sound we are crazy about. It can be as easy as recognizing a song format we want to use.
So your created this mix of old and new sound thanks to your tastes quite openminded and it’s a bombastic blend of everything… but what Mr. Simmons liked of you and your band to get such an istant deal?
He liked that we were a touring band, which meant it’s not just about the music but a great deal about the live show as well. He also liked that we were classic metal with a female front.
And connecting about this (I mean the fact that you’re a female front) - the thing that hits me about your vocals are that for have such a different background (you studied at the The Royal Music Conservatory classical music) are straightforward, let me ask how these classical studies are helping you in the band and what originate the choice to found a real heavy metal band?
The moment that made me want to do heavy metal was a Judas Priest concert I went to when I was 15. I couldn’t believe my eyes and after seeing them, I couldn’t look back. The most important things I have taken from my previous training are knowing proper breath support and being able to read music. That being said, some of these stages are huge now and I run out of breath from running around so much. I thought I was going to pass out after Gods of Metal in Milan haha!
Really? I know that a huge stage also if I wasn’t never been there unfortunatly - how the gig was, what were/are you impressions?
It was amazing! We thought Italy was incredible because the people were very passionate and energized. It was inspiring to see such a great crowd on such a blisteringly hot day to stand in the sun.
I like very much the “Welcome to My Funeral” videoclip. What is the topic treated in the videoclip and is it related to the lyric?
Yes, the video is very related to the message. The song talks about self-sabotage. Many times it is easy to let fear stop people from doing something or to let a negative feeling consume them. I call this digging your own grave. In the video I am conducting my own funeral and it is the “monster” form of me that is behaving crazy.
Now a curiosity : I found also that on 2010 under Sonic Unyon you published “Out in the Pit”, can you tell us more about it and the curious fact that I would like to know why you consider this upcoming album your official debut album?
That is our first official Kobra and the Lotus album. We independently released it and toured it in the UK and Canada. It is the very first time I ever co-wrote music with anyone! It has been very confusing to some fans why it has stopped distribution and is scarcely recognized. The reason all comes down to major label politics. When we signed, they requested this upcoming album be recognized as our”debut” since it is the first to come out of Universal/Simmons Records. It’s all been very interesting.
Another little curiosity : Since I really like the band’s name, can you tell me more infos about? I mean, who choose it and how come out?
Thanks! Kobra and the Lotus is derived from two different band names that ended up coming together through comedic events. We were first called Lotus because I was very intrigued by the purity of the flower growing from mud. I thought it seemed very similar to metal which is sometimes judged to be harsh but can actually be very beautiful and melodic. The guys I was currently playing with thought it was too feminine and so Kobra became the new name. Cobras have always been seen as fierce protectors and creatures that do not bow down to cowardly ways. In the end it was the concept of fierce beauty that inspired Kobra and the Lotus.
So Kobra, we’re at end I really hope that you liked the interview (I hope also that I covered everything) before we say goodbye and greet our readers/fans, what’s are you next projects? We are actually filming a new music video in a couple weeks and that will be for another track coming off the album! Hopefully it will be ready in time for our CD release. Otherwise we are already working on the next album in the time between touring! Thanks very much for staying up late, I hope you get to sleep in tomorrow! Credit Photos Kobra Single Photo by Tim Tronckoe Links Latest Multimedia
We are actually filming a new music video in a couple weeks and that will be for another track coming off the album! Hopefully it will be ready in time for our CD release. Otherwise we are already working on the next album in the time between touring! Thanks very much for staying up late, I hope you get to sleep in tomorrow!
Kobra Single Photo by Tim Tronckoe
Interview by Miriam C.
And here we’re for the second time promoting Evenoire. This time we have talked with Lisy about their debut album “Vitriol” that was published some months ago. I gladly invite you to enter this magical world made of ancient stories and legends. They are in need to be protected and chanted, as I call them Evenoire are the guardians of the last legends.
Hi dear Lisy, how are you? A lot of time passed since the last time we spoke.
Hello dear Miriam!! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce you the debut album of Evenoire, it’s a pleasure to be again on Femme Metal Webzine!
And about time that’s passed, I would like to ask you what’s happened between the release of “I Will Stay” EP and “Vitriol”, sounds first of all a lot of line up changes and why “Vitriol” took so much time to be released?
Between the first EP “I will stay” and “Vitriol” we just played a lot of concerts in North of Italy and composed: we took all the time we needed to create our debut album and take care about each single song, with no pressure, because the deal with Scarlet Records came once we had already recorded. About the line up changes, after some bad experiences with keyboards players, we decided to collaborate with external musicians for “Vitriol”: they composed and arranged for us keyboards parts. And after the recording of “Vitriol” we decided also to have a second guitarist in the band to strengthen the sound: so Toshiro Brunelli joined the family!
“Vitriol” is your first album released thru Scarlet Records on 26 March 2012, what you can share about its genesis and can you explain me the curious title??
The composition of “Vitriol” took us more that 2 years, we worked a lot in order to record a good debut album: everything came in a very natural way and the result is a sound full of influences relying from our different musical backgrounds. You find gothic atmospheres, oriental melodies, prog parts, symphonic keys, heavy guitars and a very distinctive medieval/folk approach. V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem) is an acronym from alchemical literature that means a deep travel into ourselves, in order to discover a deeper dimension and purify our psyche from negativities, and the element is water, symbol of the unconscious and element of life. In fact, water and alchemy are the main themes of our lyrics. This kind of journey was obliged for alchemists: they had to purify themselves like also metals have to be purified. Vitriol is also an acid, its colour is a deep blue: alchemists used it in their formulas and magical practices and they recognized this element like a part of some magical creatures.
As stated before “Vitriol” is out on Scarlet Records, now I want to focus a little about the deal. When you signed the deal and how you manage to get it? Sounds a huge goal reached for a young band like Evenoire, I mean with the times we are passing…. so double congratulations from me and the webzine…
Thank you so much Miriam! In December 2011 I took part in the organisation of an event dedicated to Italian underground bands, and as a member of the staff I had the opportunity to meet Filippo and Enzo from Scarlet Records, they were in the jury. I talked to Filippo about Evenoire and he liked the project and the music, so he offered us a deal, and we are so happy about that!
For what I get “Vitriol” was recorded in Germany with Mario Lochert at Dreamsound Studios (Vision of Atlantis, Emergency Gate). First of all why choose this studio outside Italy and how was work with this team? And sorry for asking but what are the differences, in your vision, between an Italian and a German recording studio?
I met Mario at Metal Female Voices Fest in 2010, he told me about Dreamsound Studios in Munich where he works as sound engineer. I thought it could be very interesting to record in Germany together with him and Jan Vacik (Dreamscape), because they worked with band such Graveworm, Evergrey, Edenbridge, Leaves’ Eyes, Visions of Atlantis etc. We had a lot of fun together in Munich, we found a very friendly ambience and a professional and great way of working. We also have good studios in Italy, but I think that in German you can find the best in recording a metal album and also it’s a very interesting experience to collaborate with people outside Italy, it’s a good opportunity to grow also as musician.
The cover of “Vitriol” in its essentiality totally got me. You have this tree coloured clear blue and the sky and rock grey. What you wanted to express with this cover? Any particular meaning and who’s the cover’s author?
The cover represents tree of life in a waterscape: it’s an image of the travel I described to you, a deep journey into the unconscious where water is the key, in order to rebirth to an higher state of life. Blue is the colour of skies, lakes, rivers where our legends are set, and it’s also the colour of one of our first songs, “Azzurrina” (in English “Blue Girl”), about the story of the ghost of Montebello Castle, near Rimini. The author of the cover is Francesco Bonetti, a graphic designer from our town Cremona.
On “Misleading Paradise” you sing along with the amazing Gaby Koss (Nota Profana, Haggard). When you’ve met her for the first time and how’s born this duet?
We met on Facebook, she liked our music so we decided to collaborate: we were looking for a guest singer and what better than wonderful Gaby’s voice? She also lives in Munich were we recorded “Vitriol” so everything was perfect! I enjoyed so much the experience, we became friends and had also a great Indian dinner at restaurant; when she comes in Italy we usually meet, it’s great what music can do sometimes!
The curious fact that I’ve discovered reading a press article is about your lyrical themes present on “Vitriol” based on local popular legends, can you tell us more?
Yes, lyrics are about Italian legends, history and literature and we try to give life to these stories. For example “Minstrel of Dolomites” is about a legend from the beautiful mountains Dolomites and it talks about the mythical born of the small glacial Lake of Antermoia and about how Oswald von Wolkenstein became the most famous minstrel of that area. The single “Days of the Blackbird” is about a legend from Cremona called “The Three Days of the Blackbird”, the coldest days of the year at the end of January. Lyrics explain one of the legends that originated this kind of folklore. It talks about a young couple that had to marry and reach the small town to the other side of the Po River. They crossed the icy river on foot, it was the end of January. After some days of celebration they had to come back home but this time the ice broke and they died, and during the next three days a blackbird cried to call the attention of the people. “Girl by the Lake” talks about a legend of Iseo Lake and explains how the terrible storm called Sarneghera originated: from a sad story of love and death. Italy is full of art and folklore and we like to rediscover forgotten legends, you know, here everything has got a legend: lakes, rivers, valleys, castles, buildings, foods, everything! And it’s a piety that some of them are disappearing, so we keep them alive!
According to the latest line up, you are orphan of a keyboardist. What’s happened to Michele Cattadori, your last keyboardist? I assume your still searching for a replacement for it, right? And who recorded the keys on the album?
He was simply not in line with our way of work; at the moment we are not looking for a replacement, the line up it’s perfect now with one more guitar. We are a little unlucky with keyboards players so we decided to not loose time again and collaborate with external musicians Davide Bislenghi (solo artist), Simone Giorgini (Dark End, Hollow Haze), Marco Garau (Derdian) for the recording of the keys parts in “Vitriol”.
Can you talk more about your other projects that you have : guest vocalist in Derdian (for what I’ve seen on your Facebook profile you have been in Romania and Maldives too) and The Whisper acoustic trio?
I was a guest in the last album of Derdian in 2009, “New Era Parts 3 – The Apocalypse”, I recorded choirs and a duet with the singer Joe, called “Forevermore” plus a new version of one of their most popular song “I Don’t Wanna Die”. I also took part at several concerts with them like the festival “Rockin’ Transilvania” in Romania and a private concert for a rich Ukrainian man in Maldives: it was an incredible experience because he paid us a whole week of holiday in a wonderful atoll and we could not believe that it was true…we had a lot of fun!! About The Whisper Acoustic Trio it was a little acoustic project made by me, Alessandro (guitarist of Evenoire) and a male singer: we played rock covers, it was just for fun. We kept it for many years but now we quit, too much work with Evenoire!
Instead what you can share about the recording session of new Secret Sphere album?
I took part in the recording of choirs for the new album of Secret Sphere in February 2012, it was a really positive experience, but after this unfortunately the singer Roberto Messina left the band and he was replaced by Michele Luppi that wrote from the beginning new vocal lines and recorded all again. So I think they won’t kept nothing of the old choirs and this is really a piety because me and other 2 female singers worked a whole day and the result was amazing.
You happen to be part of the international project Eve’s Apple, to who maybe don’t know about this can you explain a little?
Eve’s Apple is a worldwide community of professional female singers, designed to be a platform that informs about women’s work in the world of music, supports new female fronted bands, and offers advice for navigating the music business world. It’s formed from famous female metal singers like Lisa Middelhauve, Carmen Elise Espenaes, Marcela Bovio, Maxi Nil, Charlotte Wessels, Heidi Parviainen, Mariangela Demurtas and many more: I’m really proud to be part of it, it’s like a music family where we can share our experiences and problems, in the name of our common passion: music. I can really say that I found musical sisters!! You can follow us on Facebook here.
Now when I interview an Italian artist I ask always about our musical situations about how is hard to playing live and do some promotion. What’s in your idea that in Italy doesn’t work? What’s the first difficulty that a young band like you meet? It’s the wrong mentality or is because the media don’t care about metal (except in your case because I’ve seen that local newspapers support you really well and really care about Evenoire)? Well, just show us your idea about this topic…
Both I think: TV and radios don’t give spaces to this kind of music, web is the only way to promote for a band now,and it’s not easy because there are a lot of bands! Yes, our town Cremona support us and local newspapers give us space but usually it’s hard even because in Italy there are few places where you can play: pubs prefer cover and tribute bands because it’s easier to earn money and I think this is the first problem for young bands: the difficult to play live!
Well, my dear, we’re at end just greet your fans as you want and horn up!!
Just keep to follow us, we are already working at the second album, so stay tuned and see you live somewhere! And for the ones that don’t know us you can listen to our single here.
Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Unsettling. Enigmatic. Spooky. Claustrophobic. These are the proper words to best describe the new album of the French doom funeral project Grey November, here dealing with a crazy work that exceeds the limits of madness. “The Fall of the House of Usher”, a concept album based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, is presented as a work that results in patches of balance, a work that takes the viewer to live a first-hand experience. In occasion of the official release, FM crew has had the pleasure of analyzing it together with the singer Marieke, who has brought us in a spooky and crazy trip…
Hi Marieke and welcome to Femme Metal.net. First of all, let me thank you for having stopped here and giving us a chance to have a chat with us. How are you doing?
Hello Femme Metal.net! First, we want to thank you for your interest in Grey November. I’m really pleased to answer the interview. I’m doing very well, thank you!
Grey November is a French dark romantic doom band, born in 1998, in France. Would you like to introduce yourself to those people who still don’t know you and/or your band?
I think I am not the best person to talk about the origins of Grey November as I am not involved in this project since long. Grey November is a dark romantic doom band created by Cédric in 1998. Cédric discovered the dark romantic doom movement a long time ago and found it really emotionally powerful. He loves also a lot the authors of the Romantic Movement and the music of Grey November grew with the readings of Cédric. The music of Grey November shares the same themes: life, death, beauty.The dark romantic doom enables us to express an ideal of beauty and sadness or melancholy through the sound of the strings. The rhythms and the guitars had power to the feelings given by the melodies. To summarize, the music of Grey November aims at expressing sensitivity and passion with low rhythms and strong melodies.
Recently your album “The Fall of the House of Usher” has been released. The title, obviously, recalls Edgar Allan Poe and his short story that has the same title. The story tells about the loss of a young girl, Lady Madeleine, that is the sister of one of the two protagonists (Roderick Usher) and the story is based on one of the most essential elements of the story: the house! Poe wanted to represent the contrast between science and the occult, reason and superstition, between the human need for certainty and irrational phenomena that we can’t explain. How come have you made this choice to “develop” your album?
As I said previously, Cédric has an immoderate love for the writers of the Romantic Movement. “The Fall of the House of Usher” became one of his favorite text a long time ago and the French translation of this text which is by Charles Baudelaire has really captured the essence of Poe’s writing. After “D’automne”, the previous release of Grey November, Cédric realized that he strongly wanted to work on the “Fall of the House of Usher”. He decided to create an album based on this text in order to dive himself and the listener into this powerful short story. In addition, dark romantic doom is the perfect style of music to express such strong feelings as those given at the reading of the “Fall of the House of Usher”. I arrived in the project later when Cédric had already decided to put this short story into music. I already knew the story of the “Fall of the House of Usher” and the work of Edgar Allan Poe and I had been really touched by his texts so I decided to get involved in the project when Cédric proposed it to me.
What is your relationship with everything that is decadent, moody? What is your relationship with the decay (the decadent movement)?
The work of Cédric is more linked to the Romantic Movement and romanticism in general: he wants to express himself freely through his music and to pass strong feelings and impressions to the listener. If I don’t make mistake, the Decadent Movement appeared in the late 19th century and Charles Baudelaire is one of the writers of this movement. But I don’t know enough about it and its links with the Romanticism to speak of the relationship between Grey November and Decadence.
How was it working for this album? I mean: working on the single tracks, the lyrics, the music itself, the arrangements…
Here, I will re-transcript what Cédric said since he is the one who wrote the entire album. “The first step in creating The Fall of the House of Usher was a pure musical approach. It was also the most exciting part for me. The challenge was, first, to compose the musical parts corresponding to the beginning of the story. I had to find the right tone, the rhythm and the atmosphere to fit each of the major themes of the novel. For this first part, I wrote mainly keys parts. Then I developped the musical parts, added arrangements… I concentrated on the coherence of each song’s structure.Finally, the writing of the lyrics came with the recording of the instruments. At the very end, we worked on the melody and the phrasing of the lyrics.”.
What was the most beautiful part in recording this album?
I’m not sure of what was the most beautiful part in the recording process. I had so much great moments working on the melodies of my parts; immerse myself in Cédric’s songs, trying to feel like Lady Madeline while singing… The thing I find really extraordinary is that Cédric and I didn’t know each other before starting working on this project. He went on my MySpace page and liked my voice so he sent me an email asking if I would have been interested in working with him. I listened to what he sent me and I liked it a lot, I tried to put some vocals on the first songs and he liked it also. That’s how we decided to work together. During the recording process, we worked only by email sending each other ideas, first recordings and so on. So I found someone with, I think, the same sensitivity as me toward the work of Edgar Allan Poe and with whom it was really easy to work since we had the same view. I’m really proud that people seem to feel our emotions through the music of Grey November though we didn’t know each other before this project. I’m not sure if I’m really clear… :)
As I’ve said, the album is related to Edgar Allan Poe’s short story. Was it hard to work and to write the lyrics for the album? It is true that it was not a little thing to try to write an album based on an Edgar Allan Poe novel. The novel itself is so well written in the typical flamboyant style of Poe. However the lyrics are in French and Cédric wrote them after composing the music, it enabled him to have a certain distance with the original text. Cédric was interested in a thematic and chronological approach of the text so he developed songs in a chronological way speaking first of the House, then of Roderick and after that of Madeline. He wrote on the mourning after Madeline’s death and finally on the “Fall of the House of Usher”. As I already explained, Cédric and I didn’t know each other before the beginning of this project. He contacted me via MySpace. Since I really love reading Edgar Allan Poe’s novels, when Cédric explained me his project, I was very interested and enthusiast. When I first listened to the music written by Cédric, I was sure I wanted to sing on it! In addition, it was quite a challenge for me to sing so emotional parts; I’m not really used to this kind of music. I’ve read the novel again several times and I tried to immerse in Madeline’s feelings. Marieke, I was particularly impressed by your voice, which results very expressive: you can give the songs that sense of drama, and why not, also that sense of melancholy. How do you manage to make all of this? What was your music education and/or the bands/singers that have inspired your musical growth? It’s true that, when people listen to the album, they say that I managed to express the melancholy and sorrow of Lady Madeline with my voice. I’m really proud that people can feel so many emotions while listening to this album. I don’t know if I really succeeded or if people are kind with me when they tell me these things but it’s true that I tried to put as many emotions as I could in my voice when I recorded the songs to serve the story, the music and the lyrics of Cédric. Concerning my musical education, I learned a little bit of music theory when I was young and began playing clarinet. After that, I tried to play guitar but it was definitely not for me. I began taking singing lessons about 10 years ago. I always sang but not really seriously. I began trying to improve my voice when I was in high school with singers like Alanis Morisette or Beth Gibbons (Portishead). Then, I began to listen to more and more Metal Music and I tried to sing on Lacuna Coil songs or Within Temptation songs. I even tried to sing Metallica with one of my previous bands… I always had a passion for music. First as a listener, even when I was very young, I always listened to a lot of music (not always to good music… :) ). I began playing instruments when I was 13 I think. But since I was really shy, it took me a lot of time to have the courage to sing in front of other people. SoI have been in bands as a singer only since 10 years I think. Since 2006, I am part of a band called Heonia (www.heonia.fr) and, in this band, we decided to play only the songs we are writing. When I discovered that I was able to write my proper songs and to sing them, I think it made my passion for music grow even more! The first song, “Pendant Toute Une Journée D’automne” (“A Dull, Dark, and Soundless Day in the Autumn of the Year”), is a gothic/doom track, that puts the listener in a sort of “atmospheric/dark” mood. It shows what the album is going to be. I’d like to define this album something that comes closest to being Funeral doom genre. Do you agree with this sentence? In my opinion, the best track of this album is “Lady Usher”. It’s what I’d define “romantic doom”. The songs opens with a instrumental intro, and your soft voice becomes more powerful/whispered, as if you were really Lady Madeline. How was playing this role? Actually, I was quite tense before the beginning of the recording of this song. I knew it would be a very emotional song. So I tried to enter in this character and feel like her to sing with all her sorrow and languor. It was quite moving for me but I really enjoyed recording this song. I’ve noticed that the songs are quite “long”. What could you tell about the length of the tracks? Why have you decided to create so long pieces for this album? The songs were built naturally, following the story and its atmosphere. It’s certainly what brought Cédric to write long pieces. The languidness of the novel, the long descriptions of the sceneries, the way the author describes the characters’ mood, the characters who are extremely hesitant to act instead of thinking, all of these characteristics of the novel favored the writing of long songs. In addition, Cédric loves to construct languid atmospheres and deeply loves Poe’s novel so it is also perhaps an explanation for such long pieces in the album. I leave here the world to Cédric : “The topics covered in “The Fall of the House of Usher” are extremely numerous; according to us, far away from the academic considerations, the interest of the history does not appear in the opposition between science and the occult, or in dubious oedipal considerations, but in the metaphor of the glance of the main character on its own decline, on its immutable decrepitude and sovereign death. Roderick and Madeline are twins and, through the whole story, Roderick sees himself dying and wasting away when her sister joined the tomb, he feels himself rushing to the end of its own destruction, the collapse ofits family, his condition relentlessly promised to nothingness. This story is for us the story of as a lucid man confronting to the spectacle of his inescapable human condition, of his destiny and his death… Similarly, the house is the epitome of the history of the family, his state of decrepitude is the image of an absurd entelechy, in which the heritage, the family, the offspring can be no outlet, no metaphysical consolation: the end of everything. The story is just an introspection, a minor movement sublimated by the prose of Poe. It is true that there were many reasons to be hung-up by the original text of Poe and his flamboyant style. But our words have been drafted in French, and after the process of composing music, and this could well afford a certain distance. Cedric was interested in an approach in both a thematic and a chronological order of the text, by developing successively songs on the house of usher, on the character of Roderick, on that of Madeline. Over the period of mourning following his death, then the Fall of the House of Usher, finally…”. I am absolutely not a specialist of doom music. I really like the way emotions are brought to the audience by this kind of music. I think it’s one of the Metal subgenres which is the most emotionally powerful. Apart from that, I don’t really have an opinion on this genre which I am not really used to listen to. Cédric is now working on a new project for Grey November but we can’t say more for the moment. Everyone interested can follow the news on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/greynovember Thank you very much for this interview! I know it took me a lot of time to answer these questions and I apologize for that. What do I have to say to Femme Metal users and Grey November fans? First thank you very much for reading this interview, supporting Grey November and listening to our music!! And finally, keep listening and discovering little bands, they deserve it! Links
It is true that it was not a little thing to try to write an album based on an Edgar Allan Poe novel. The novel itself is so well written in the typical flamboyant style of Poe. However the lyrics are in French and Cédric wrote them after composing the music, it enabled him to have a certain distance with the original text. Cédric was interested in a thematic and chronological approach of the text so he developed songs in a chronological way speaking first of the House, then of Roderick and after that of Madeline. He wrote on the mourning after Madeline’s death and finally on the “Fall of the House of Usher”.Listening to the album, I felt so much drama and expressiveness. How did you decide playing the role of Lady Madeline? I’d like to remember that Madeline is a quite troubling character.
As I already explained, Cédric and I didn’t know each other before the beginning of this project. He contacted me via MySpace. Since I really love reading Edgar Allan Poe’s novels, when Cédric explained me his project, I was very interested and enthusiast. When I first listened to the music written by Cédric, I was sure I wanted to sing on it! In addition, it was quite a challenge for me to sing so emotional parts; I’m not really used to this kind of music. I’ve read the novel again several times and I tried to immerse in Madeline’s feelings.
Marieke, I was particularly impressed by your voice, which results very expressive: you can give the songs that sense of drama, and why not, also that sense of melancholy. How do you manage to make all of this? What was your music education and/or the bands/singers that have inspired your musical growth?
It’s true that, when people listen to the album, they say that I managed to express the melancholy and sorrow of Lady Madeline with my voice. I’m really proud that people can feel so many emotions while listening to this album. I don’t know if I really succeeded or if people are kind with me when they tell me these things but it’s true that I tried to put as many emotions as I could in my voice when I recorded the songs to serve the story, the music and the lyrics of Cédric. Concerning my musical education, I learned a little bit of music theory when I was young and began playing clarinet. After that, I tried to play guitar but it was definitely not for me. I began taking singing lessons about 10 years ago. I always sang but not really seriously. I began trying to improve my voice when I was in high school with singers like Alanis Morisette or Beth Gibbons (Portishead). Then, I began to listen to more and more Metal Music and I tried to sing on Lacuna Coil songs or Within Temptation songs. I even tried to sing Metallica with one of my previous bands…When did you start to sing and to develop your passion for music?
I always had a passion for music. First as a listener, even when I was very young, I always listened to a lot of music (not always to good music… :) ). I began playing instruments when I was 13 I think. But since I was really shy, it took me a lot of time to have the courage to sing in front of other people. SoI have been in bands as a singer only since 10 years I think. Since 2006, I am part of a band called Heonia (www.heonia.fr) and, in this band, we decided to play only the songs we are writing. When I discovered that I was able to write my proper songs and to sing them, I think it made my passion for music grow even more!
The first song, “Pendant Toute Une Journée D’automne” (“A Dull, Dark, and Soundless Day in the Autumn of the Year”), is a gothic/doom track, that puts the listener in a sort of “atmospheric/dark” mood. It shows what the album is going to be. I’d like to define this album something that comes closest to being Funeral doom genre. Do you agree with this sentence?From a literal point of view, it is true that Funeral doom could be a genre that corresponds to us. On the other hand, from a cultural point of view, funeral doom makes Cédric think of a cold and harsh British doom, like My Dying Bride. In Grey November, keys have a lot more importance than in the funeral doom genre. That’s why the style dark romantic doom is what we think is the most appropriate to describe our music. With the adjective “romantic”, it embodies the tragic and sensuous dimension brought by the string ensembles in our music.
In my opinion, the best track of this album is “Lady Usher”. It’s what I’d define “romantic doom”. The songs opens with a instrumental intro, and your soft voice becomes more powerful/whispered, as if you were really Lady Madeline. How was playing this role?
Actually, I was quite tense before the beginning of the recording of this song. I knew it would be a very emotional song. So I tried to enter in this character and feel like her to sing with all her sorrow and languor. It was quite moving for me but I really enjoyed recording this song.
I’ve noticed that the songs are quite “long”. What could you tell about the length of the tracks? Why have you decided to create so long pieces for this album?
The songs were built naturally, following the story and its atmosphere. It’s certainly what brought Cédric to write long pieces. The languidness of the novel, the long descriptions of the sceneries, the way the author describes the characters’ mood, the characters who are extremely hesitant to act instead of thinking, all of these characteristics of the novel favored the writing of long songs. In addition, Cédric loves to construct languid atmospheres and deeply loves Poe’s novel so it is also perhaps an explanation for such long pieces in the album.I think that it’s a good doom album and I think that, if Poe were still alive, he would be pleased about you, your work, what you and Cedric have made this work in music. What’s the real meaning of “The Fall of the House of Usher” for you?
I leave here the world to Cédric : “The topics covered in “The Fall of the House of Usher” are extremely numerous; according to us, far away from the academic considerations, the interest of the history does not appear in the opposition between science and the occult, or in dubious oedipal considerations, but in the metaphor of the glance of the main character on its own decline, on its immutable decrepitude and sovereign death. Roderick and Madeline are twins and, through the whole story, Roderick sees himself dying and wasting away when her sister joined the tomb, he feels himself rushing to the end of its own destruction, the collapse ofits family, his condition relentlessly promised to nothingness. This story is for us the story of as a lucid man confronting to the spectacle of his inescapable human condition, of his destiny and his death… Similarly, the house is the epitome of the history of the family, his state of decrepitude is the image of an absurd entelechy, in which the heritage, the family, the offspring can be no outlet, no metaphysical consolation: the end of everything. The story is just an introspection, a minor movement sublimated by the prose of Poe. It is true that there were many reasons to be hung-up by the original text of Poe and his flamboyant style. But our words have been drafted in French, and after the process of composing music, and this could well afford a certain distance. Cedric was interested in an approach in both a thematic and a chronological order of the text, by developing successively songs on the house of usher, on the character of Roderick, on that of Madeline. Over the period of mourning following his death, then the Fall of the House of Usher, finally…”.What is your own opinion about Doom and all its subgenres?
I am absolutely not a specialist of doom music. I really like the way emotions are brought to the audience by this kind of music. I think it’s one of the Metal subgenres which is the most emotionally powerful. Apart from that, I don’t really have an opinion on this genre which I am not really used to listen to.Is there something new, now, for Grey November?
Cédric is now working on a new project for Grey November but we can’t say more for the moment. Everyone interested can follow the news on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/greynovemberOk, thank you so much Marieke for the nice chat. You have the chance to speak to Femme Metal users and Grey November fans. Is there something you would like to say?
Thank you very much for this interview! I know it took me a lot of time to answer these questions and I apologize for that. What do I have to say to Femme Metal users and Grey November fans? First thank you very much for reading this interview, supporting Grey November and listening to our music!! And finally, keep listening and discovering little bands, they deserve it!
Label : Nikitin
Review by Vard Aman
Risha are one of the most unique and unconventional bands around. They have created a sound that is theirs alone and a style that has not been done before – or more accurately, a style which is a mixture of different styles that has not been tried before, most likely because those who might have thought about it before probably decided that such a mix wouldn’t work. If that is what they thought, they were wrong: it does work, and Risha proves it. Or maybe it was something only Risha could do. Risha got together recently and are made up of former members of a Russian Industrial/Gothic/Alternative band called Deform. The vocalist and bassist, Irina Lvova (aka Rishafox), is also a seasoned session musician having worked with the likes of Tracktor Bowling, Arkona and others, as well as playing cello for Vespercellos. Their sound is… well… take some powerful Rammstein like guitar riffing; incorporate many of the electronic elements and effects that are often found in Industrial music of that kind; add some solid drumming; throw in a some Rock, Metal, and a few other influences here and there into the mix; and then get the vocalist to sing a beautiful melodic traditional Slavic folk style over it and you’ll be beginning to get some kind of idea as to what Risha sounds like – Industrial Folk. Now, Folk and Metal have been crossed many times very successfully, but most Folk Metal is exactly that – a fusion of two styles into one. Risha is not like that; Risha keeps their very contrasting styles mostly separate from each other at the same time, in the same songs, and the overall sound they create not just still works, but works amazingly well. Let me try to describe it another way: strip most of the folk elements out of the music leaving only the heavy Industrial/Industrial Metal style and then strip most of the Industrial/Metal elements out of the vocals leaving only the folk style and you have Risha. And that’s about the best I can do to describe their sound – you’re just going to have to get this album and listen to it yourself. Risha’s unique blend of styles operates simultaneously, as I’ve already mentioned, but from song to song the formula they have invented doesn’t vary any more than most other bands vary theirs from song to song. With Risha, this is not a bad thing at all; they give the listener a good dose (and certainly a varied enough dose by normal standards) of what they are all about. The album starts off with the title track, “Лето” and builds up to the really strong tracks on the album: “Голубка”; “Птаха”; and the two main highlights for me, “Водица” and “Улетай на крыльях ветра” (Risha’s rendition of the piece from the famous “Polovtsian Dances” in Act II of the opera “Prince Igor” by Alexander Borodin). Then Risha begin to change things up a bit with “Манечка” being the most experimental song on the album, and “Дождик / Lullaby” featuring Lou Gevorkyan from Tracktor Bowling which is a quieter, more ballad-like song. The album ends with, “Калёда”, which serves as a good reminder and summary of what Risha is all about. At the end they’ve added two remixes as bonus material. “Leto” is an album anyone and everyone can enjoy, because of Risha’s unique blend and the way they have put it to use. It’s heavy and quiet at the same time (yep, that is possible – listen and you’ll hear for yourself); rhythmic and melodic; you can turn it up loud and go wild to its energy; or you can concentrate closely on its intricacy; or you can put it on in the background and relax. It is a unique debut album from a unique band. I’ll be looking forward to their next release with great interest…
Rating - 90/100